You must have heard this advice: stop trading hours for dollars, and you might be wondering what it really means. Well, basically you are being advised to package your expertise and skills in such a way that you remove the limit on the number of people you can actually serve, without getting burned out in the process. You still do what you love, and you also help a maximum number of people by creating streams of passive income. So this applies to you if you are a coach, consultant, therapist, service professional, or somebody who works one on one with people. No matter how much you love your job and you helping people, you only have a set number of hours in a day.
You can only book so many clients and have to put others on a wait-list or turn them away. Product creation is the answer for you (and just to clarify, I am talking about information products such as ebooks, e-courses, workshops, membership sites, etc). This also applies to you if you want to monetize your passion but are not selling anything yet.
Maybe you are stuck in a job you don’t even like, maybe you are a mum returning to work or maybe you just need more freedom and flexibility in your life. But if this product creation is the answer to your dreams, why aren’t you doing it? The reason is simple: You are scared. And you come up will all sorts of excuses to justify it.
#1 Product creation takes a long time
This has got to be the number one excuse people come up with. They think that creating an information product is too hard, that it is going to take too much of their time. When I ask someone if they have thought about creating one they immediately say how busy they are and simply have no time to do so.
Well, creating a product, just like everything else in life, does take time. However, this time doesn’t have to be about struggle, overwhelm or frustration. And the fact of the matter is, your first product doesn’t have to be really big. It doesn’t have to be this all-encompassing online program that takes you months and months to create and deliver.
Have you heard the term ‘minimum viable product – MVP?’ Basically you only take as much time as you need to make a product that does what it’s supposed to do. You focus on making version 1.1. You don’t care about the bells and the whistles. You don’t care about how it is packaged (for now).
Just by giving yourself permission that the first version can be a beta version takes the pressure off. Not only you get psychological relief but it is actually very good idea to test things to make sure you don’t end up spending hours and creating a product nobody wants.
#2 What if it doesn’t sell?
It will sell if you go through this process I am about to teach you. First things first, never create a product you are not sure people want to buy. Do your research. If you have a list of people, survey them. Ask in the Facebook groups and forums. Pay attention to the kind of questions your readers and clients tend to ask you.
Go to Amazon and search for books on your topic. Look at the ones that are popular and read their reviews. What do people love about them? Don’t forget to pay attention to 1 and 2-star reviews as these will tell you things people are unhappy with. Conduct interviews with your target audience and listen to what they are telling you. Also pay attention to things they aren’t saying.
Become a detective and all this work will pay off. Remember this if you create something nobody wants, it won’t sell no matter how good the product actually is.
#3 The product I want to make already exists
Next, you want to look at what is available in the market. So this step trips up most people. As soon as they start researching, they begin finding products that are very similar to what they have in mind or teach the same thing. This is actually a good thing. Competition means there is a demand for your kind of product. It means people want to buy it.
A client of mine came to me heartbroken that what she wants to create has already been created by someone else. She is convinced that this is the exact thing she wanted to create and wonders if there is a point in going ahead with her plan now. Firstly, I have some good news. Since we are talking about information products, there is something you need to understand first. People don’t buy courses, ebooks, and workshops just for information. They buy it because they have an affinity with the person delivering the information. They prefer their teaching style. They like their perspective and personality. Again, this is fantastic news.
This means you practically eliminate competition by being yourself and teaching in a manner that is closest to your heart. Secondly, people use more than one product in a niche. They buy CDs of many artists even if they all sing jazz. They go to many Chinese restaurants. They also learn from multiple teachers. They might buy something just for information and buy another for the community aspect of it.
#4 I don’t know how to create one
Come on. Is that your excuse now? Seriously? What do you say to someone when they want to do something and they don’t know how to do it? You say, we all start out not knowing. You say, take the first step and start looking up some information. Follow your own advice.
Google is your best friend. Look for ‘how to create my first information product’ and see what comes up. You will even find products about creating products and if you want to invest in some training or coaching, that is totally fine, too. For now, all you need to know is this. You need to create something very specific, your product needs to solve a specific problem. People often make the mistake of going broad, so if you can avoid this you are at a great place to start.
Secondly, you need an outline. You need a process of some sorts, a system that helps people. People want structure. After that it is a matter of sitting down and creating your materials. It is up to you to decide which format to choose, whether video, written, presentation with voice over or a mix. You can include Q/A calls, email support or a private Facebook group for customers.
Lastly, you need to hire someone for design and the technical aspects or you can DIY depending upon how much you are willing to learn. You can also outsource video and copy editing.
#5 I don’t have the money to create it
This one just stems from lack of understanding of the product creation process. When we are talking information products, the costs are minimal to begin with. Nobody is expecting you to invest thousands of dollars. Especially when it is your first product, keep in mind what I said earlier about creating a minimum viable product first.This means keeping your costs low. No expenses on hiring an expensive designer or a brand strategist. Follow the lean start-up model and you can keep your costs in the hundreds range.
#6 I am not a great teacher
For some people the biggest block that rejects this idea is not so obvious. When I suggest this to my clients they seem to think this over for a second but then they shake their heads and say no. They think it’s not such a good idea. After some probing and deep digging, I get the real answer. This is because they believe they don’t have what it takes to do a good job.
Most of these people have never taught before and they are not sure how to even begin the process. This is what I say: Most service providers are teachers are heart although they don’t recognize it. I say if they help a client go from point A to point B, can they document this process of them getting the desired results? Can they systemize it and make it easy to understand? Can they add examples and explain concepts so anyone can understand? And of course, the answer is always yes.
The same logic applies to you. And again, if you struggle with any aspect of product creation, you know help is available. You can always hire an instructional designer or a course creation expert or ask for advice.
#7 I don’t have a big audience
Some people don’t want to get into product creation because they don’t have a large audience. It’s a valid concern. If you don’t have a substantial number of people on your email list, you feel like you won’t be able to sell much. The way to counteract this scenario is to start building your email list just when you start researching your idea. For example, you might think of one product idea and write a few guest posts on it. This way not only do you get to see if your idea has any merit but you drive super warm traffic back to your website.
All these people who subscribe to your email list as a result are much more likely to be interested in what you have to offer. You could also splinter topics from your main idea and create freebies around it. You might develop mini ebooks, checklists and cheat sheets, 7 part email course, tutorials or webinars and promote those using Facebook ideas getting likely buyers to opt-in. You can work with other people to promote your product to their own lists (affiliates).
And lastly don’t forget when you actually do a launch for your product and release a series of pre-launch content, be it a video series or written content, you will still be adding people to the list. Don’t forget though, if your email list is super targeted your list and you have a great relationship with the people on your list, your conversions will be higher than normal. You don’t necessarily need a big list to sell. You can start off with few hundred people and still do well.
#8 I don’t know what to price it
You might think this one is a silly excuse. Would people not create something because they don’t know how much to charge for it? Then you’d definitely be surprised to know that people don’t begin creating just because they get stuck on what to actually name the product. While excuses like these may seem trivial to many of you, for some, they are something that keep people blocked. It’s a big deal to them.
People think if they charge a low price then they need hundreds and thousands of buyers to make a profit. They think they’ll create an ebook for $19.99 so they need a two hundred people just to make roughly 4,000 dollars. This is not a lot of money. On the other hand, if they charge a higher price, say $999 for an ecourse, they feel their audience won’t buy. Let me tell you something. Pricing is just a marketing tool.
Just like you have to make decisions like how big your product is going to be, what goes into it, what modality to use, what would packaging look like – you should approach pricing exactly like that. The problem begins when people begin to associate their prices with their worth. They have been told by other gurus that ‘charge what you are worth’. Err … your pricing has nothing to do with your worth and everything to do with the value you offer and the experience your customer gets when they make a purchase.
As far as naming goes, choose a name that spells the main outcome of the program. Be clear, rather than clever. Too be really honest, it doesn’t even matter that much.
#9 I don’t know how to market it
So this is a big one. And this is why I left it for last. By now you should have gotten a new perspective on what to create your product on, what to call it, and what to charge for it. You would have tested the product idea so you feel confident and excited (as opposed to scared and apprehensive) and you have been slowly growing your list. Good for you.
The last piece of the puzzle is how to actually market and sell it. I have some good ideas for you. If you have been keeping your audience involved in your product creation from day 1, if you have been keeping them in the loop on your blog and over at your Facebook page giving them a sneak peek now and then, you are naturally and slowly building buzz.
To successfully launch your product, you could also learn how to do it yourself or outsource it. The most important thing is if you have a great offer (fantastic product at the right price), people will buy. You don’t need to become a master of persuasion or copywriting expert. Your sales page doesn’t even have to be perfect and it will still do the job for you. All because you took the time to perfect the process.
There you have it. My down and dirty guide to create your first information product really. I have only one question for you: When are you going to start? Share your thoughts in the comments below!